Amazing Lion Armour of King Henry II

9:35 AM

 The embossed 'Lion Armour' is thought to have belonged to King Henry II of France (r.1547-1559) and can safely be attributed to the famous Negroli family of Milan, the dominant makers of this type and quality by the mid-16th century. The armour takes its name from the menacing lion's faces which appear on its most prominent surfaces. Perhaps most impressively, the helmet is fashioned to frame the face with the lion's open jaws, in the manner of an Ancient Roman parade outfit.

The armour seems to have been in England from the mid-1620s, after which it was crudely altered, most obviously with the enlargement of the face opening of the helmet. Between about 1640 and 1688 Edward Montagu, 2nd Earl of Manchester, Charles II, Cosimo de Medici, and General George Monck, Duke of Albermarle were each painted in this armour. By the later 18th century it belonged to Board of Ordnance armourer John Cooper, who apparently lent it for exhibition at the Tower of London. It was presented there as the armour of Charles II in the display of mounted figures known as the 'Line of Kings', and was later displayed as that of Edward VI and then Charles I.

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